January 26th, 2012
This post has been a long time in the works. Not the mere writing of it, really, but the getting-in-place of the “necessaries” that all combine to make the post even possible.
For quite a few years, I’ve had several clients (from my previous place of employment) come up to me and ask, “Grant, when are you going to start your own business? We love what you do. When are you going to get out there and just do your own thing?” Well, I’m very proud and excited to announce that time has finally arrived. It’s here. I’m doing it. Now. I’ve spent the past several months preparing, getting geared up, and learning a great deal. I went “official” back during the weeks leading up to Christmas, already have some good projects under my belt, and a few others looming on the horizon. It’s rolling. Grant Taylor Photography has finally arrived.
It’s been a very unusual, crazy year with all of the huge changes that have gone on, the shifts in thinking and routine, the obstacles, the unknown. I’m feeling really good about it all, though, and am happy to say that this has likely been one of my favorite years ever. I’ve had some wonderful creative collaborations with very good friends, have met some truly remarkable people, gained some new clients, and I’ve put together several bodies of personal work that contain some of the strongest photography I’ve ever created. To me, that’s extremely energizing. Really cool stuff. The neat thing, too, is that this is only the beginning. Things are just getting warmed up.
One of the most (symbolically) important steps in my process of the past few months has been the development and production of my new business card. The printing of the cards seemed to really legitimize what I had set out to accomplish. It affirmed my intentions. It made this whole thing mine. I’ve been extremely fortunate to be surrounded by good friends who are talented beyond description, and am thankful to have had their help and involvement along the way. Tim Winter is one of the people on that list. Tim is the brilliant mind behind my business card design, and the rest of my identity kit as well. It was a really neat process to go through with him, to see how he transformed and updated my existing name treatment, applied his own creative sensibility and what he knew of me, then projected it to the card, letterhead, envelopes, labels, website, all that stuff.
The business card was the first of the stationery pieces to be produced. Through the course of meeting with Tim and Kathy Prozeller, of XPEDX, we finally arrived on the right paper to use, and Tim’s idea for the use of silver ink not only would look cool, but also speaks to the use of silver in traditional photographic processes. More importantly, the combination of the two, married with the character of the letterpress method of printing, would really help to convey the look, feel and soul of Grant Taylor Photography.
We enlisted the expertise of Dock 2 Letterpress in the printing of the business cards, and their partner-company, Weekend Printer for the letterhead, envelopes and labels. I had met with Tony Zanni at Dock 2 for a couple preliminary tests, Tim finalized the artwork, and Tony placed the order for the plate. On the day we went to press with the cards, I was able to join up with letterpress guru, Dave Eckler at Dock 2, and photograph the entire, wonderful process as Dave printed my cards on a 1953 Heidelberg “windmill” press. From the initial mixing of the ink, through to the finished piece, I was blown away by the beauty of the process and the “stuff” involved. Gorgeous. It was fitting that these earthy, traditional-feeling cards be printed on an antique press, using old methods. My face hurt from smiling that afternoon. It all just felt perfectly right.
Dave was really incredible to work with, patiently answering all my curious questions, and explaining the hows-and-whys of each step in the printing process. After running some initial tests, he discovered that the openings in the small type would fill with ink, if the volume of ink on the plate was too great. After a few rounds of adjustments, he had it all dialed in very sweetly. Dave had also decided to reduce the amount of pressure that the polymer plate was being hit with. In the end, two gentle hits of silver ink, with a 24-hour drying period in-between each, followed by a harder, blind-deboss on the third day would get the cards where they needed to be. Gorgeous and legible, with that wonderful look and feel that only the letterpress process can provide.
I need to take a moment and express my great thanks to the handful of people who have been directly involved with the developing of my identity, branding and marketing pieces, for without their passion, talent and commitment, it would have been a real struggle: Rachel Spence, Tim Winter, Matt Smythe, Tony Zanni and Dave Eckler. I also need to give a shout-out to my very good friends, Dean Milliman, T.C. Pellett, Katelin Ryan, Mieke Smythe, Sherry Jackson, Kristen Valent, Stephanie Miles and Lisa Jane Roman, for the support, smiles and insight they’ve provided along the way. Thank you all so very much! It’s wonderful having you in my corner.
Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark 2